Three glimpses of Mary

In these days of Christmas, the news of pandemics and crises never ceases to worry us. I wonder if it is honest to hide and disguise so many bad omens with glitter, candles or calendar phrases. With this question, I invite you to take a look at the first Christmas narrated in the Gospels. The time came for Mary to give birth, burdened with problems and in the midst of icy loneliness. She had no better fortune than any of us. Faced with a difficult marital conflict, she was not spared hard questions and turmoil in her faith; she experienced rejection and marginalisation with the slamming of the inn door; she was cornered in the stinking squalor of a stable to give birth; she knew the infanticidal cruelty of rulers and the hardships of flight and exile… Was there any more bitterness left for her to taste?

And, surprisingly, the Christmas gospel is a hymn to joy. In Bethlehem Mary lived a rare experience of light and love. God kept her heart on fire in the freezing cold. Not a single complaint, not the slightest bitterness appeared anywhere. Bethlehem was a place of angels, not demons. Mary is the woman who always blesses and never accuses. In the stable next to the already born Jesus, she is silent and contemplative. She had eyes only for her son. What does she keep in her silence, what does she hide in the corners of her heart?

  • Look at Jesus and see how small God becomes. Or rather, how great is this God who makes himself so small… Because he is God in person. Look at the Word… but he did not know how to speak! The Way… but he did not know how to walk! The Life… but he needed to suckle so as not to die! The Creator of the sun… but she was shivering with cold!… Mary looked and looked without understanding anything, but she believed and adored.
  • Look at the baby and contemplate that God is in every child born of a woman. In every human being, no matter how damaged, God lives. The philosopher later remarked: “If God has become man, to be man is the greatest thing one can be”. Mary looked on, and without knowing how to explain it, she was happy to see that God had not abandoned us. He never despises anything He has created.
  • Look and see how much poverty there is around her. Almost no family, no home, no means, no help, no company, no miracles from God… In the most total poverty, Mary keeps, turns over in her heart and stores up what she lives like someone who amasses a treasure. She looked at and embraced her poor son in fear of breaking what was most precious to her… and silently repeated her second “Amen”.

On that first Christmas Eve the shining Yahweh of the burning bush became fire in the lap of a Virgin, her eyes filled with tears and her heart with joy. Let us hope that Christmas does not catch us too busy rotting away recounting calamities without discovering so much joy in the midst of so much rubbish.


Juan Carlos cmf

(PHOTO: Il ragazzo)



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